Saint Francis Xavier was one of the first members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and spent many years working as missionary in Goa, Southeast Asia and Japan. He is known as a miracle worker, prophet and healer and is the patron saint of foreign missions, missionaries, and parish missions. He once wrote, “The best way to acquire true dignity is to wash one’s own clothes and boil one’s own pot.”
The Christmas tree is one of the most visible symbols for Christmas. Tradition has it that St. Boniface set up the first Christmas tree in Germany during the seventh century. By the 12th century, it was referred to as the “Tree of Christ.” Trees were first decorated in the early 15th century. Pope Benedict says that “with its loftiness, its green colour and the lights in its branches, the Christmas tree is a symbol of life that points to the mystery of Christmas Eve.” Through it, we see how heaven and earth are united, how Christ brought into our world a new hope and a new splendour.
Lord God, be with us as journey through the Advent season and help us to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ. Fill us with your Spirit and with hope that we may grow strong in faith and live in joyful anticipation. Wrap us with the fullness of your love and help us to live in harmony with one another. May we always live according to the Gospel and be filled with gratitude for the gift of your presence among us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Writing Christmas cards or letters? Giving away food and goods to the needy? Assembling a care package? Consider saying a prayer for the recipient. You might also wish to put a small gift under the tree for a local charity or donate money towards a Christmas dinner for the less fortunate. Alternatively, donate to Mission Mexico, a long-term project of the Diocese of Calgary.